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Full text of "A history of Persia"

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Summary.—In this chapter we have traced the envelop-
ment of Persia from the north and from the east The
Great Northern Power, urged on by the irresistible forces
which ever drive an organized state to expand at the
expense of unorganized neighbours unable, and often un-
willing, even to restrain their subjects from raiding, has
advanced in four great strides from Orenburg to the
Persian frontier. In its progress it has absorbed the
valley of the Sir Darya, Bokhara and Samarcand, Khiva,
and finally the country of the Turkoman, which now con-
stitutes the province of Transcaspia, with its capital at
Askabad. Russia has firmly established her power in
this vast sparsely populated steppe territory and has
riveted her yoke by means of the Central Asian railway
in the first place, and more recently, in 1905, by the line
which joins Tashkent to Orenburg. Other railways are
being projected. I have travelled in Central Asia on more
than one occasion and can testify to the steady progress
visible on every side, which contrasts most favourably with
the lack of security, of order, and of justice characteristic
of the native regimes described by the ready pen of
This advance of Russia has been the subject of bitter
criticism in England; but the critics, many of whom are
badly informed, do not appear to realize that during the
same period Great Britain has annexed great, fertile, well-
populated provinces in India. Outside India, too, the
huge desert province now known as British Baluchistan
has been annexed, and the foreign relations of Afghanistan
are at the present day controlled by the Government of
India. On the western frontier alone there has been
no important change to record, and the exact boundary
between the Persian and Turkish empires has been laid
down by a Commission on which representatives of Great
Britain and Russia are serving.